can birds eat too much

It gives advantages to certain species but can make life – and survival – harder for others, warns an ornithologist.

A lot of people in Norway enjoy feeding birds, especially during the winter.

Among the wild birds that gain the most from humans placing food outside is the robust species known as the great tit, or Parus major.

Tore Slagsvold says, “It’s okay that people are interested in birds and feed them, but when they go overboard this can be a setback for other bird species.”

He teaches at the University of Oslo’s CEES, or Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis. Slagsvold studies the behavior, procreation, and environmental adaptations of great tits and other birds.

He cautions against overfeeding and advises people to stop providing food for wild birds in the spring, following Easter.

Leaving food out for birds well into the spring can have the unintended consequence of luring them into nesting too soon. Then, before there is enough food for them in the wild, their chicks hatch too soon.

Slagsvold feeds wild birds as well, and he sees definite benefits to carrying on as long as we stay within reasonable bounds.

Naturally, seeing birds at a feeder brings us joy and helps a lot of birds survive the winter when the snow is deep and covers bushes and trees. ”.

As its name implies, the great tit is the largest variety of what Americans refer to as chickadees, and Britons as tits. They can be found throughout Europe, Asia, North and Western Africa, and even Japan.

According to Slagsvold, one drawback of excessive feeding is that it increases the survival rate of great tits, which tips the odds against other species, such as the European pied flycatcher [Ficedula hypoleuca].

The great tit does not drill its own holes in trees; instead, it builds its nests in holes it finds or in outdoor birdhouses that people erect. These areas are useful for hiding from crows, magpies, and house cats, among other enemies. Great tit populations grow because, according to Slagsvold, they take over nesting locations that other species could have used for their own eggs.

Furthermore resident—that is, not migrating—is the great tit. In the Nordic countries, for example, it spends the entire winter, which is to its advantage.

“A long-distance flyer, like the European pied flycatcher, which arrives in North America from Africa late in the spring, may face significant challenges in locating a nesting location. Slagsvold claims that there is nowhere for them to hide and no shelter.

He says that if we keep putting bread crumbs or seeds and nuts in feeders well into spring, we run the risk of the birds growing accustomed to and dependent on artificial food sources.

On the other hand, birds like the flycatcher will have a better chance of locating a place to nest when they migrate north if we stop feeding them around Easter and put birdhouses high in the trees.

The biology professor remarks, “More and more of us, including myself, also feed birds at our mountain cabins.”

However, do we go overboard to the point where it ruins things for other species in this ecosystem, like the rare grey-headed chickadee? ”.

In Southern Norway, this species is in danger of going extinct, and one theory suggests that the great tit is outcompeting them. Slagsvold has previously observed the grey-headed chickadee in the Hedmark County forest east of the Rondane Mountains, but not in recent years.

Slagsvold encourages people to build birdhouses in order to aid in the survival of specific species.

This is something that everyone who feeds birds should do. And not just one birdhouse:

Place two, or better yet, three, at a distance of roughly 20 to 30 meters apart. The European pied flycatcher will then have space in the third after the great tit takes the first and the blue tit (Parus caeureleus) the second, according to him.

An excessive gap between the birdhouses may not be beneficial.

“We get tits in every birdhouse if we place them too far apart.” They are all within the domain of a great tit pair if they are 20 to 30 meters apart. The tits will then exclude all other species, but not the flycatchers or the blue tits. ”.

According to Slagsvold, installing a single birdhouse gives the same birds that we have been providing food for all winter far too much of an advantage.

“Then they will hatch a lot of new recruits.”

One option is to postpone installing birdcages in the trees until after the great tits have begun to build their nests. According to the professor, in Norway, that entails waiting until the beginning of May.

Slagsvold claims that although many people in Norway enjoy feeding wild birds, Norwegians are not the most enthusiastic about this practice. People in many other nations, like the USA and Great Britain, seem to be more fascinated by birds than Norwegians are.

People in the UK purchase twice as much birdfeeders and birdseed as people on the Continent. A recent study suggests that the British people’s enthusiasm may have even led to the great tit beaks growing longer.

“It’s not our intention to try and compete at the same level as England, but I do believe it’s beneficial to set some groundwork.” According to Slagsvold, it increases our appreciation of nature and aids in the preservation of species and ecosystems.

If you watch the live webcam at Zoom, even if you’re not a big fan of birds, you might change your mind. No, from a Nesodden garden in Akershus County, a short distance outside of Oslo:

Translated by: Glenn Ostling

Sciencenorway. no brings you science news from Norway. This is the English version of forskning. no, Norway’s independent, online newspaper on science. Sciencenorway. no har artikler fra forskning. no på engelsk.

Are you overfeeding birds?

Birds are shrewd about their eating habits and generally do not overeat, though there are undoubtedly some that are a bit more greedy than others. They are aware of how much food they need to get through the day and will quickly figure out what their bodies require to keep them going.

Any food we give them is an addition to what they naturally eat. So, no, you are not overfeeding your birds. A feeder that quickly empties may indicate a busy feeding area and, moreover, that you are providing excellent care for the local wild birds!

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Qty :

can birds eat too much

This brief guide will assist you in creating a good feeding schedule to ensure that overfeeding of the birds in your garden or outside areas won’t occur.

As the seasons change, bird feeding habits will vary. The number of birds at our feeders increases in the winter, and we can easily observe a rapid decrease in the amount of bird food we leave out for them. This means more refilling, more often. When mating season begins in the early spring and there are a few more tiny beaks to feed, we will observe a steady increase in this once more. In between these periods as well as during these times, you might worry that you are overfeeding your birds.


Is it possible to feed birds too much?

Although there are certainly some birds that are a little more greedy than others – birds are clever when it comes to their eating habits and will tend to not overeat. They are in tune with how much food is required to see them through the day and will quickly learn what their bodies need to sustain their activities.

What happens if a bird eats too much?

If a parrot is regularly overfed, it can lead to obesity, which can increase the risk of other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and liver disease. Additionally, overfeeding parrots can disrupt their natural feeding patterns and cause gastrointestinal problems.

Can birds overeat and get fat?

Birds crave for proper nutrition, and in their attempts to survive, they may overeat. The deficient body cannot rid itself of the extra calories and is forced to store them as fat. Almost all fat birds can be considered suffering from malnutrition.

Is it bad to feed birds everyday?

Yet emerging evidence suggests that feeding wild birds poses risks. Bird feeders can fuel the spread of avian diseases, alter migratory behavior, help invasive species outcompete natives and give predators, including free-roaming neighborhood cats, easy access to birds and their nestlings.